Category: ILPI Publications

As part of the Nuclear Weapons Project, ILPI produces reports, policy analysis and background material related to the issue of nuclear arms control. The publications are divided into three main categories; nutshell papers, policy briefs and background papers. The Nutshell papers are relatively short and factual, while the policy briefs are more argumentative in style. If you have questions related to the publications, do not hesitate to contact the project at

Gender, development and nuclear weapons

Shared goals, shared concerns

October 2016

This study discusses the relationship between nuclear weapons and gender—how and why the two are connected, both to each other, and to shared global agendas such as sustainable development.

Under my umbrella

Understanding the terms ‘nuclear umbrella’ and ‘nuclear umbrella state’

5 August 2016

The term ‘nuclear umbrella’ is frequently used to describe military alliances that maintain the option of using nuclear weapons in their collective defence. Yet despite its widespread use, the concept lacks a precise definition, and there does not seem to be agreement on exactly which states should be referred to as ‘nuclear umbrella states’.

The road to Pelindaba

An overview of the history and politics of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in Africa

29 July 2016

This article provides an overview of the history and politics of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in Africa. It explores the process that led to the establishment of an African nuclear-weapon-free zone, and discusses the terms of its founding document, the Pelindaba Treaty. It also discusses the role of African states in recent and on-going disarmament processes such as the review cycle of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Humanitarian Initiative. The article concludes with a discussion of the future of African states’ engagement in the movement towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

Spelling Tlatelolco

An overview of the history and politics of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean

5 July 2016

This article provides an overview of the history and politics of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean. A particular emphasis is placed on the Latin American and Caribbean nuclear-weapon-free zone. We discuss the terms of the Treaty and how the zone came to include states that were initially reluctant to join it. With this as a backdrop, we also consider the role of Latin American and Caribbean states in ongoing efforts to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

1540 and the 2016 Comprehensive Review

A brief history of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 in light of the 2016 Comprehensive Review

By Hanne Veel
13 June 2016

On 28 April 2004, the UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted Resolution 1540,[i] the purpose of which is to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to non-state actors, in particular for terrorist purposes. The resolution obliges all UN member states to adopt and enforce appropriate legislation to this end, and to put in place domestic controls to prevent such proliferation. The resolution further establishes a committee to oversee its implementation. In accordance with a subsequent resolution from 2011 (UNSC Res 1977), the 1540 resolution will undergo a comprehensive review in 2016, with a view to improving implementation of the resolution. This article briefly outlines the history and implementation of the resolution to date, with the aim of providing a backdrop to the on-going review process.

A prohibition on nuclear weapons

A guide to the issues


This study surveys various views on how to promote and achieve nuclear disarmament in the current security environment. It draws on our institutes’ previous work on nuclear weapons-related issues, for instance, as part of analysing the so-called ‘humanitarian impacts initiative’, the work of the Conference on Disarmament, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

From consequentialism to deontology

Torture, hostage-taking, and nuclear weapons

By Nobuo Hayashi
15 September 2015

Presented at “Humanitarian Impact: Why Ethics Is Important to the Politics of Nuclear Weapons,” a side-event held during the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

Ambiguous ambitions

The saga of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the international legal framework regulating weapons of mass destruction

By Reza Lahidji
10 September 2015

The agreement signed on 14 July 2015 by the representatives of Iran and the so-called P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany) is considered a major development in international relations by its proponents and critics alike. If it is enacted by both sides and effectively implemented, the agreement will end more than a decade of crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme and twenty-five years of controversies about its policy with regard to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This paper examines the history of Iran’s doctrine on WMD, of the handling of Iran’s case by international institutions governing the production of WMD, and of the internal debate on WMD in the Iranian political system and society. This history sheds light on both fundamental changes within the Islamic Republic of Iran and problematic aspects of the international non-proliferation regime.